In recent years, healthcare costs have seen a significant shift, with patients having to bear a larger portion of expenses through higher deductibles and co-insurances. The continuous increase in medical costs has become an ongoing challenge for patients and medical practices to improve patient collections.
Securing patient commitment to pay their medical bills is a significant challenge that healthcare providers face. Over the past two decades, hospitals across the board have delivered a staggering $745 billion worth of uncompensated healthcare to patients in need.
In this article, we’ll delve into the consequences of decreased patient satisfaction resulting from high medical costs. We’ll also discuss how that affects medical practices and offer 5 effective ways to improve patient collections.
How Lower Patient Satisfaction Affects Medical Practices
With the skyrocketing expenses, patients are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the care they receive. In turn, this negatively impacts the medical practices providing those services.
When patients are unhappy with their care due to high costs, they may choose to forgo necessary treatment or delay care, leading to poorer health outcomes. This may reflect negatively on the medical practice, as their quality metrics and patient outcomes decline.
Moreover, as patients share their dissatisfaction with friends, family, and online communities, the negative perception of the practice can further damage its reputation. Then it becomes more difficult to attract new patients and retain existing ones.
The Role of Price Transparency to Improve Patient Collections
As the demand for healthcare transparency continues to grow, medical practices that openly share pricing information with patients will be at an advantage.
This transparency not only improves patient satisfaction, but also fosters trust and loyalty to medical practices, enhancing the patient-provider relationship.
Being upfront about medical costs empowers patients to make informed decisions about their care. When patients understand the costs associated with their treatment, they can better prepare for expenses and make choices that align with both their medical and financial needs.
And as patients gain control over their payment schedules, they become more likely to make timely payments towards their medical bills.
When compared to traditional billing methods in which patients often receive a one-time lump sum bill, self-managed payment plans promote a higher likelihood of patients attending to their financial obligations regularly.
This not only improves patients’ ability to pay off their medical bills, but also reduces the overall accounts receivable (A/R) balance for your medical practice.
Additionally, price transparency can help medical practices recognize areas of opportunity to reduce costs and better serve their patients.
5 Effective Ways to Improve Patient Collections
Strengthening patient satisfaction around payments is crucial to maintaining the financial health of your medical practice in the face of increasing patient healthcare costs.
Embracing patient-friendly payment options can not only lead to better satisfaction but also contribute to the long-term success of your medical practice.
Improve patient satisfaction in the face of rising medical costs with these thoughtful and proactive solutions for patient collections.
1. Providing Patient Responsibility Estimates
One of the most effective ways to enhance patient satisfaction around payments is by providing an accurate estimate of their financial responsibility before the service is performed.
Transparency in billing allows patients to make informed decisions and even encourages them to be more proactive in managing their healthcare expenses.
And with the No Surprised Act (NSA), implemented in 2022, not providing your patients with an estimate can seriously cost you.
With penalties of up to $10,000 per NSA infraction, it’s more important than ever to have a tool that will create accurate patient estimates quickly and easily.
2. Prompt Payment Discounts
Providing incentives, such as prompt payment discounts, is another way to encourage patients to meet their financial obligations quickly.
By offering a discount for payments made within a specified time frame, you can not only speed up the payment process but can also enhance the overall patient experience.
Patients who take advantage of these discounts will often perceive that they are getting a better deal, resulting in higher patient satisfaction levels.
Not only will it delight your clientele, but it also positively impacts your revenue cycle by reducing accounts receivable days and cutting down on statement and collection costs.
By implementing solid policies and consistent communication, every patient receives equitable treatment, making this an advantageous strategy for boosting your financial health.
3. Electronic Statements
Patients are increasingly becoming accustomed to managing their financial transactions online, and healthcare payments are no exception.
Offering the flexibility to send statements electronically via text or email not only saves time and resources but also caters to your patients’ preferences.
This modern approach can significantly improve patient collections, as they can promptly access and review their statements with ease.
4. Online and Mobile Payments
Another method to simplify patient collections is to enable patients to pay their bills through online and mobile payment channels. Providing this option demonstrates that your practice values convenience and understands the changing dynamics of the patient experience.
With the development of healthcare apps and health management tools, integrating a secure and reliable online payment system can go a long way in improving patient satisfaction.
5. Offering Payment Plans
Medical expenses can be daunting for many patients, and the introduction of higher deductibles has only compounded this issue. In fact, a recent study showed that 40% of American struggle to keep up with their bills and credit payments.
Allowing patients to opt for payment plans can alleviate some of their financial concerns, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
Payment plans facilitate flexibility, allowing patients to repay their outstanding bills in a manageable way that accommodates their budget. Furthermore, they can also help your practice reduce the A/R burden while ensuring your financial sustainability.
Ultimately, working with patients to reduce the financial burden of their care and being transparent about costs can go a long way in both improving patient payment collections and boosting patient satisfaction.
Improve Patient Payment Collections with CollaborateMD
In today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, providing patients with price transparency and efficient payment processes is becoming increasingly important. That is why CollaborateMD has introduced our Patient Responsibility Estimator.
Built seamlessly into your existing CMD workflow, this advanced feature allows you to determine patient responsibility quickly, get paid faster, and enhance the overall patient experience by offering much-needed price transparency.
To experience firsthand the transformation CollaborateMD can bring to your practice, schedule a demo with one of our experts today! Discover the difference patient estimates can make in elevating your patient’s experience.